Monday, November 9, 2015

A PreSchool to LOVE

PreSchools are tricky in Hong Kong.

First, they are all crowded. It is not uncommon (so I've heard) for mothers to put their unborn children on wait lists the moment they discover they are pregnant. Seriously. Worse than DC.

Secondly, we are in an Asian-culture society. One in which fact-knowledge and skill-set are highly valued. [Translation: the preschools here nearly all focus on learning ABC's and 123's]

no thank you.
And then we found EtonHouse.

EtonHouse is a dream.

It's Reggio Inspired. That says enough right there. I can't tell you how blessed and grateful I feel that we can send one of our kids to a Reggio inspired school. It is something I desperately wanted for ABear, but we never could afford. And now - the stars have aligned to allow for this possibility for BunnyCakes. Thank you, Stars.

This school is beautiful. It's play based and inquiry based. The principal also happens to be Bunny's lead teacher this year. And I love her. She is kind, gentle, skilled, knowledgable and loving. She sends emails, photos, and portfolio updates regularly. She sees the best in Bunny - and doesn't gloss over the worst. She fully accepts and loves her for who she is - in her entirety.

BunnyCakes is learning so much and is thriving here. She gets to select learning experiences each day (her favorites are playdoh and dollies). She likes storytime (tonight she was telling me about Hungry Bear). She joins enthusiastically in the circle time singing. She wanders into the younger classroom to introduce herself and make friends. She roars when others take her things -- she's working on that. :)

She gets to enjoy a 'light atelier' :: a room where she and her friends get to explore and play with light and shadow. Imagine a dark space, an old-school overhead projector, flashlights, twinkle lights, a light table....

She has a music/movement room :: parachute, instruments, scarves....  An Art Room :: Where she can dip her hands into the paint and it's written up as a wonderfully self-initiated sensory experience! An indoor play-garden :: dress ups, dollhouse, trikes, balance beams, mirrors, etc.

She comes home speaking Chinese (albeit mostly 'pretend Chinese' ... her program is both in English and sometimes in Chinese)... and chiming in at the dinner table "ask me about my day!"

Did I mention we can WALK there?

Big Girl's day off -- happy to walk Little One to school

receiving birthday card (that's our amazing nanny, on the left!)

In a culture where even the pediatric doctor routinely checks 3 year old eye sight and coordination with letter and number identification (!!?) .....this is one of the few HK pre-schools that doesn't focus on academic regurgitation. Doesn't rely on 'boxed' art projects... Rather, it supports and enhances the rich and complex development of the child: social, emotional, communicative, creative, and physical.

I think both she and I will learn a lot this year.

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